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natural fissure in the rock. Beyond this, the Well had evidently been cut through the masonry and not built up with blocks, as all the other overground passages were formed. This section of the Well widened out in diameter and was thus more difficult to climb than its narrower sub-Grotto section.
At last I emerged from the torn and ragged opening which formed the mouth of the shaft, and found myself in the northwestern corner of the Grand Gallery.
Why and when had it been cut through the body of the Pyramid? The question automatically registered itself and as I meditated on it, the answer flashed up. Those ancient Egyptians who had closed down an epoch of the Pyramid's history by closing the entrance to the upper chambers and Grand Gallery with three monstrous granite plugs, had had to create a way of escape for themselves or they could never have got out of the Pyramid.
I knew from my own researches that the shaft and the Grotto had been cut at the same time as the building of the Pyramid, but that the Well did not descend any farther than the Grotto itself at the time. For thousands of years there was no direct link between the upper passages and the subterranean one.
When the Great Pyramid had fulfilled its mysterious purpose, those who were responsible sealed it. The sealing had been foreseen by the original builders, who had left the necessary material in place and had even made a contraction in the lower end of the ascending passage to hold the three granite plugs.
Working at their task, the last tenants cut the lower section of the Well through solid rock as a way of escape for themselves. When the work was finished and they had made their retreat, it was only necessary to block up the exit of the newly cut section securely, at the point where it joins the descending passage, and then ascend the 3oo-feet slope to the original entrance. Thus the Well, although originally created as a means of reaching the Grotto, finally became a means of leaving the blocked-up Pyramid.
I returned again by the easier route to the long slanting tunnel which connects the interior with the outer world, to resume my downward journey into the rocky plateau of Gizeh. Once, at a corner, an enlarged shadow was suddenly thrust across my